Fencing project at Soda Lake helps native plants, wildlife habitat

The wildlife and fish on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area are already benefiting from efforts to enhance forage and shrub growth.

7/2/2018 11:52:21 AM

Pinedale -

This month, the Game and Fish and volunteers with the Upper Green River Muley Fanatic Chapter, SOS Well Services, Jonah Energy, and Game and Fish Commissioner Mike Schmid, from LaBarge, installed a steel jack fence to protect small aspen, willow and chokecherry plants from heavy browsing pressure. These native plant species provide essential vegetation and habitat for big game, song birds and fish.

Soda Lake is a crucial wildlife habitat area near Pinedale and is home to elk, mule deer, antelope, black bears, sage grouse, songbirds, many small mammals and fish. The pipe fence, set up around woody vegetation, will limit how much of these plants that livestock and elk can eat, called browsing, which has kept young native plants from growing large enough to mature. In the long-term, this will give wildlife more to eat and fish much-needed bank cover.

“We built 2,000 feet of fencing in four different polygons at Soda Lake,” said Kyle Berg, Pinedale habitat and access biologist.“The steel jack fence will allow the native plants to grow up and benefit wildlife for years to come.”

Steel jack fences are an economically-sound investment for habitat protection and growth. The fences can be moved and rebuilt in new locations to reduce grazing pressure once native plants reach maturity.

“The fence will stay in place at these four locations for 5-7 years. Next, it will be moved to other locations around Soda Lake,” said Berg. “The fence materials can last for up to 100 years.”

This fence is the first step in a larger fencing project in Western Wyoming. Over the next several years, 14,000 additional feet of fencing is planned, spread out between Jackson, Pinedale and Green River regions to protect woody vegetation.

The project was possible because of pipe donated by Ultra Resources and funding from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, the Wyoming Game and Fish Trust Fund and the Wyoming Governor's Big Game License Coalition.



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